Travelling to Japan in 2022 Without a Guide: All You Need to Know

A Guide to Travelling to Japan From Singapore in 2022

Japanese travel agencies are now only required to make arrangements for the tourists’ accommodations.

As you would’ve heard by now, Japan is finally easing its travel restrictions! After your almost three-year wait to revisit Singaporeans’ most desirable destination, we’re sure you’re looking forward to experiencing fall foliage or snow again, or indulging in seafood delights on endless cheat days.

However, you might find yourself disheartened that the newest travel restrictions still require tour packages to be booked (as of 7 Sep 2022). Fear not, free-spirited souls! This step-by-step guide for Singapore passport holders is here to help you make that guide-free, almost free-and-easy trip to Japan in 2022 a reality (all while still adhering to the country’s present travel restrictions). 

japan snow winter

Image credit: Ian Keefe

First off, regardless of country of origin, all tourists booking a trip to Japan are required to apply for a single-entry short-term visa. COVID-19 vaccination proofs, quarantine, and arrival testing are no longer required. Plus, Japan is still closed to independent tourists.

Note: Although mask-wearing is no longer required in Japan, many still choose to leave them on. Hence, it is advised to continue wearing your mask at all times in the country. 

Travelling to Japan in 2022

Step 1: Book a package tour

Although guides are no longer necessary, the visa application process to travel to Japan in 2022 still requires tourists to book a package tour through a recognised travel agency. Booking the tour package would allow the agency to source for flight tickets and accommodations for the duration of the trip as it is still not permitted for accommodations to be privately arranged. 

Should you choose to do the booking through a third party foreign travel agency, these agencies should be partnered with Japanese travel agencies and recognised accommodation platforms like the Japanese Inn Group, the Japanese Youth Hostels Guide, or the Japanese Ryokan and Hotels Association. Flight tickets, however, can be booked independently. 

Image credit: Mehmet Bicakci

Apart from flight tickets and accommodation arrangements, these tour packages would provide you with personalised travelogues which would include suggestions for optional activities and guided tours. Round-the-clock assistance for information and advice will also be available. Although travelling in Japan without a guide is possible, it comes at the responsibility of the tourists to remain contactable and traceable (proximate whereabouts for each day might be requested) at all times by the travel agency. 

After you have made the booking with the travel agency, they will start the visa application process for you by registering the trip through the Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS). Thereafter, the Certificate for Completion of Registration will be issued and emailed to you by the travel agency. It will be valid for three months from the date of issue listed at the bottom of the certificate. 

Step 2: Book an appointment with the Japanese Embassy

japan torii gate

Image credit: Tianshu Liu

In order to proceed with the in-person submission of the supporting documents needed for the visa application, you will need to email the Japanese Embassy at [email protected]. Do not use the online appointment system which you might find on the embassy’s website. Include the following information in the email:

  • Subject: [Package Tour] Date of departure, Name of Travel agency
  • Information to provide: 
    • Representative’s name (person who liaised with the travel agency for the booking)
    • Name of the travel agency
    • Number of applicants (number of people travelling on this trip to Japan)
    • Date of travel 
    • Contact number of representative

Note: There is currently no indicated minimum or maximum number of tourists per group. However, as there is still a limitation of 50,000 arrivals to Japan daily, it is possible that should the group size not be able to fit within the proposed day of arrival, you might be requested to adjust it. 

Step 3: Bring supporting documents to the Japanese Embassy

Image credit: Inkredo Designer

You will be required to produce either your original passport, NRIC, or identity card (personal identification document with facial photo) to enter the embassy. Bring a single printed copy of the Certificate for Completion of Registration (issued by the travel agency, see Step 1) and all the documents provided by the travel agency when the booking was made. These may include the trip overview, trip schedule, company contact information, certificate of employment for the tour conductor/agency etc. 

For each individual member travelling to Japan, you will need to separate and pack the following documents into their own individual sets for submission:

  1. Completed visa application form
  2. Original valid passport
  3. Original passport size photo (3.5cm x 4.5cm) – Should only be printed on photo paper (regular A4 paper printing not allowed), to be attached to the visa application form using only glue.
  4. Photocopy of identity card issued by the Singapore government (both front and back)

Thereafter, you will be required to pay the visa application fee of S$38 per person (only accepted in cash) on the day of submission of the supporting documents. 

Step 4: Wait for the visa application to be processed

japan mount fuji

Image credit: Manuel Cosentino

After the submission of the supporting documents, the embassy would take between five to seven days to process the application (should there be no issue). However, depending on the purpose of the visit or the individual situation, you may be required to submit additional documents that could delay the processing time. Thus, it would be advised to plan for a buffer time of two to four weeks between the date of application and your arrival date into Japan. 

The approved visa will be valid for three months from the start date indicated on the visa which would be attached to the passport. Your permitted length of stay, on the other hand, would depend on the duration of the package tour booked (e.g., a week-long tour might permit you a stay of approximately 15 days in Japan). Since only single-entry visas are being processed at the moment, re-entry into Japan is not allowed once you have exited. 

Enjoy a guide-free holiday when travelling to Japan in 2022

Congratulations! Be it for sushi, onsens, or shrines, you’ll finally be able to enjoy your trip to Japan in 2022 either for the very first time or as your favourite country to revisit (once you’ve completed the above steps, that is. 

Be sure to check each step carefully to prevent any delays to your dream holiday as the application process remains stringent! 

About Author


Fenna is a homebody who enjoys binge watching dramas or just rewatching children's movies - and sometimes even crying to them. On occasions where they leave home, you can find them taking detours to give a little tender loving care to the neighbourhood cats. Fenna is also always excited to go on impromptu errand trips or overseas travels whenever invited by their friends.